BUFFALO – Firing on all cylinders, Greenbrier West attacked Buffalo from every angle Friday night in a record-setting 59-0 victory. The Cavaliers executed just about everything they tried in completely dismantling the Bison. With the win, the Cavaliers cruise into their open week with an unblemished record. Buffalo is left searching for answers following their third straight blowout loss.
The Bison were frustrated from the outset as Greenbrier West’s tenacious defense held Buffalo to a three-and-out on their initial possession. Grant Weaver’s pooch punt traveled only 20 yards, starting the Cavaliers off at Buffalo’s 36-yard line.
Isaac Agee went to work slicing up the Bison. His first carry went for five yards on a counter to the right side. Agee bounded off to the left on a sweep for 10 yards on West’s next play. After Cole Vandall misfired on a pass to the right flat, Agee once again sliced through the Buffalo defense, carrying the ball to the Bison two-yard line. Two carries later, Agee broke the plane of the goal line for West’s first score. Hayden Ridgeway capped the drive with a point after for a 7-0 lead with only 3:35 off the clock.
West wasted no time getting the ball back. Ridgeway squibbed an onside kick to the left side of the Cavalier kickoff unit and Tucker Lilly covered the ball up after a diving attempt by Evan Vandall. Cole Vandall took a shotgun snap on West’s first play and dropped a dime into the waiting arms of Lilly at the Bison 16-yard line. Lilly caught the pass in stride and cruised into the endzone for a 44-yard touchdown catch. Ridgeway split the uprights for a 14-0 lead only nine seconds after the first West score.
Despite a poor decision to field the kickoff inside the five-yard line, Buffalo started to show signs of life. Weaver connected with senior wideout Chris Williams on a slant for a gain of fifteen yards. Weaver targeted Williams on the next play, lofting a pass up the right side. Doing everything textbook, Marcus Adkins provided blanket coverage on the throw, knocking it away at the midfield stripe. A pass interference call, however, negated the fine job Adkins did on the coverage. Buffalo now had a first down at their own 36-yard line. Enough was enough. C.W. Sturgill stuffed a run on first down. Ethan Holliday and Jacob Nutter pressured Weaver on second down forcing an incomplete pass in the flat. On third down, Cole Vandall rushed Weaver’s throw. The rainbow was intercepted at the 50-yard line by Lilly.
Lilly burst down the West sideline with a cavalry of teammates, diving into the endzone for an apparent pick-six. Another eye-opening flag, this one at the goal line, negated the score. Starting from their own 15-yard line, the Cavaliers utilized two Jake Pate carries to score. Pate’s 1yd run along with a Ridgeway PAT made the score 21-0 with six minutes remaining in the first quarter.
Buffalo’s next drive was short-lived. After crossing midfield, The Bison faced a third-and-11 at the Cavalier 39-yard line. Jacob Whitt burst through the Bison line and met Buffalo fullback Wesley Oldaker in the backfield. Whitt’s penetration was so rapid and forceful that he drove Oldaker into Conner Weaver’s running lane, forcing a fumble. Nutter recovered the loose ball, ending yet another Buffalo possession.
The Cavaliers attacked immediately. From his own 44-yard line, Vandall connected with Colten Dunbar at the Buffalo 35. Dunbar spun, turned up field and kept churning his feet, dragging Buffalo’s Williams to the fifteen-yard line. After an incomplete pass through the back of the endzone. Vandall found Lilly in the left flat for a gain of six. On second down, Pate carried the ball through the right side behind the blocks of Nutter and Whitt, getting a seal block from Trent Parker on his way to a 9-yard score. Williams blocked Ridgeways point after attempt, but West had a comfortable 27-0 cushion with 3:09 left in the first quarter.
The stingy West defense went right to work and forced the Bison into yet another three-and-out. Weaver’s punted traveled only twelve yards this time, setting the Cavaliers up at the Buffalo 42.
This time Holliday slotted in at tailback. His six-yard carry became a 21-yard gain when a facemask was called on the Bison. Agee then burst over the right side. Peyton Ford’s block cleared the way for Agee to cut back to the left leaving Agee in the Buffalo secondary. Agee made one more hard cut to the left, avoiding Andrew Neal’s tackle before being brought down from behind by Joah Harris. After a penalty negated a Moses Gray reception to the Buffalo one-yard line, Vandall raised up and hit Dunbar down the seam for a 19-yard scoring toss. Ridgeway’s kick made it 34-0 with 46.8 left in the opening quarter.
On Buffalo’s next drive, Holliday made a spectacular play that set up an unusual score. Facing a second-and-4 at their own 20-yard line, Buffalo opted for Weaver to toss a bubble pass to Williams in the right flat. Holliday sniffed out the play and slipped inside the block of Anthony Burgess. As Williams made the grab, he braced himself as Holliday closed the distance. Holliday form-tackled Williams and jarred the ball loose. In the scramble for the ball, Burgess recovered it back at the Buffalo five-yard line. On the next play, Weaver took the shotgun snap on the goal line and looked to run left on a designed keeper. Trent Parker flashed into the backfield and forced Weaver to change direction. Although Weaver initially avoided Parker, Weaver bumped into his own lineman in the endzone. As he was trying to advance, Parker wrapped him up for a safety. With a 36-0 lead, the Cavaliers would accept a free kick.
In a curious move given the field position, Buffalo attempted an onside kick. Williams’ kick traveled only nine yards and was covered by Brand Poticher at the Bison 29-yard line. The Cavaliers would work their way to the Buffalo five yard-line before making a rare mistake. Nutter lined up in the backfield and attempted to carry the ball over the left side. The handoff was bobbled, and the Bison corralled the loose ball at the one-yard line.
The moral victory would be short-lived. On the Bison’s first play, C.W. Sturgell burst across the goal line and tackled Williams short of the field of play, notching back-to back safeties for the Cavaliers 55 seconds apart. West led 38-0 with 10:02 to go in the first half. Buffalo was slightly more conventional with the free kick this time. Williams kicked a low-liner that Dunbar fielded on his knee at the Bison 41-yard line.
The Cavaliers looked to senior Roy Loudermilk on their next possession for some offense. Loudermilk ran a sweep to the right followed by a sweep to the left. Vandall then hit Loudermilk with a swing pass to the right that Loudermilk took to the 17-yard line. Williams was assessed a penalty for a late hit moving the ball half the distance to the goal. On the next play, Loudermilk took a pitch to the left for a 9-yard score. Ridgeway added the extra point for a 45-0 bulge with 8:46 to go in the first half.
Unable to put a drive together, Buffalo finally started to complete some underneath passes and move the ball, generating a couple of first downs. Buffalo entered Cavalier territory with a first down at the 43-yard line. The Bison went to the well one too many times, though, and Weaver lobbed a pass in the direction of Andrew Neal down the right hash. Holliday was in perfect position and elevated at the 30-yard line for the interception. Holliday had a Cavalier convoy escort him 70 yards for the pick six score.
Relegated to the passing game, Buffalo’s next possession would not last long. After two incompletions, Weaver rolled to his left on third down. Weaver tried to throw back across his body to Caleb Sizemore, a good target at 6’2, 185 lbs. Adkins was step for step with Sizemore and just as the sophomore reached for the football, Jake Pate darted across his face and picked off Weaver’s pass. Pate returned the ball to the Bison nine-yard line, but a personal foul backed the Cavaliers up to the Buffalo 34-yard line.
The penalty was a minor setback on a night when everything seemed to work in the Cavaliers’ favor. Moses Gray took the handoff moving right to left and got a block on the edge from Parker to spring him outside. Gray got another edge block from Loudermilk before cutting back at the ten-yard line for a 34-yard score. Ridgeway split the uprights for a 59-0 lead with 2:29 to go in the half.
Greenbrier West recovered the kickoff when Evan Vandall outraced a Bison returner to a free ball. After a Pate run moved the ball within scoring distance, the Cavaliers lined up to give Ridgeway a shot at a field goal as time expired in the half. A Buffalo interior lineman squeaked through to get a hand up and block the kick, ending the half with a 59-0 Cavalier advantage.
Both teams agreed to 6-minute quarters in the second half. The fourth quarter featured a running clock, a rule in the WVSSAC when a team has a 35-point fourth quarter lead.
Greenbrier West’s 59 first-half points are a school record, breaking the mark of 54 set last October against Meadow Bridge. For those interested in Scorigami, the 59-0 final score was the first time Greenbrier West had ever won by that score. This is not the first time the Cavaliers have had a pick-six and back-to-back safeties for scores in the same game. The Cavaliers first achieved the feat on November 23, 2013, in a Class A second round playoff win over #2 St. Mary’s.
Greenbrier West is 4-0 and will have an open date on September 22. The Cavaliers return home to begin a three-game home stretch with their homecoming game against Shady Spring on September 29. Buffalo falls to 0-3 and hosts Mt. View this Friday.
Brandon Poticher was selected as the Rock 95 McDonald’s Player of the Game. Poticher had three tackles and two passes defended in the winning effort.
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